What is Dance? Is it More Than Sport and Art?

November 30, 2016

Some people consider dance simply as an art form or sport,-or to some, both. It mostly constituent body movements; be it intuitional or cognitive process, learned through intense physical and mental practice. With such large numbers of dance style, what is more common,is that each has a rhythmic component which one has to master in order to excel in it. There is no second opinion if someone says that dance is both a sport and an act of art. It is true that dance walks a fine line between sports and art form, but it is also a cultural human phenomenon.



However, all body movements can not fall into “dance “category. Some examples such as March bands are not considered dance even though they have some rhythmical characteristics.  For any rhythmical movements to become a dance, it needs to express feelings, should include human emotions and should be an art. It is somewhat hard to identify which is considered a dance and which is not. It is because the perception of dance can vary to an exceedingly larger degree, i.e. from person to person. It can also vary according to the culture a dancer is raised in, their religion and physical abilities.


There are a large number of dance forms across the UK. Some dance forms like Morris dance, Highland dance, Long Sword dance etc are regional. Clog dance is usually performed in Lancashire. Alongside these, there are spiritual dance and religious dance which is performed in church and religious environment, and Modern dance forms like ballet, modern, tap etc. which are performed in theatrical and concert environments. These dance styles directly co-relates to the culture and tradition of an individual.


Dance is even used by the governments and other agencies to determine what kind of culture people follow in a country. This is important to determine demographic composition of people as the dance act is a reflection of their culture and tradition.


Dance usually has three components; Communication, expression and transformation, which means for any rhythmical movements to be considered as a dance, it has to communicate with the audience, should be able to express itself clearly and has to be a work of art. Simply put, a modern dance has a very slim chance of appealing to a traditional society and would simply reject it as a dance form.


Also, point to remember is that each type of dance fits into a specific type of music, and there is not a single dance that can fit into each and every single type of song and music. Similarly, each dance style has a particular set of techniques in comparison to another type of dance. Some differences in movements and posture are always present even if they have some similarity in their origin. There are also specific types of dance performed exclusively on certain holidays, festivals or in a certain month. This further strengthens the idea that dance is not just an art or sport, but a cultural phenomenon. It is bigger than sports and art itself.


Most people perform dances to express their emotions along with their cultural belief. It is one of the most effective methods to express one’s emotions and beliefs. But this article is not stating that each and every dance form is an expression of one’s cultural ideology, but most of it is.


By analysing the dance forms practiced today, we can conclude easily that dance is not just an art form or sport, but coexist as a cultural phenomenon along with these two.



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